For centuries now, Jerusalem has been at the heart of many conflicts and wars. The city holds special importance and is revered by the three most important religions in the world–Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Which is exactly why Trump’s hasty decision to declare Jerusalem (all of it) as Israel’s capital and his announcement to shift the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the Old City will have disastrous consequences around the world.
To understand the importance of Jerusalem, one must take into account the religious significance that the city heralds for billions of Muslims, Christians and Jews around the world.
Jerusalem is where, according to Christians, Jesus Christ was crucified and killed (as per their belief), it is where Temple Mount lies, the holiest place of worship for Jews.
For Muslims, the Old City holds special importance as it houses Al-Aqsa mosque from where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) began his Mairaj Journey. Al-Aqsa mosque is the third holiest place of worship for Muslims across the globe.
Israel has illegally built settlements on East Jerusalem on private Palestinian land property. 86 percent of East Jerusalem is under control of the Israeli authorities or settlers. These settlers number at 200,000.
Israel has also built a separation wall in Jerusalem dating back to 2002 which is constructed along the West Bank territory. This has divided Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods who constantly live in fear of revocation of their citizenship from Israeli authorities.
But wait–Why did Donald Trump make the incendiary call?
US President Donald J. Trump made the call to shift the sole superpower’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This comes as a surprise move after every other American president has signed a waiver to shift the US embassy to Jerusalem, keeping in mind the repercussions such a decision would have on the world.
However, some of you may recall that Donald Trump is only making good on his campaign promise to shift the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and have it declared as the Israeli capital.
During his campaigning days as a front-running candidate in the US Presidential Elections 2016, he made the promise to Christian evangelicals and ardently pro-Israel American Jews that the US embassy would be shifted to Jerusalem.
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson had even donated $25 million to Trump’s cause and expressed extreme anger at the US president when he initially signed a waiver not to shift the embassy to Jerusalem, in June.
Others are of the view that Trump has made the decision at a time when he is suffering from extremely low ratings as the country’s president and this decision may buy him some much-needed support from the American public.
Does any country in the world recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital?
Save for a handful of countries, most nations around the world do not recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Taiwan is an exception since it does recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. However, Israel, in turn, doesn’t even recognise Taiwan as a country.
Pacific island of Vanuatu is another exception since it recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in May of this year. Its late president was an evangelic Christian.
Russia remains ambiguous in this regard while China, England, France and other global powers have denied recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel along with the rest of the world.
Here’s what Muslim countries have said so far regarding the Jerusalem decision…
As expected, Muslim countries across the globe denounced Trump’s decision and spoke out against it. From Turkey to Iran and Saudi Arabia, Muslim countries were critical of the decision by the US president.
- Turkish President Erdogan said that the decision by Trump would boost terrorist groups around the world
- Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Arab League’s secretary-general, said he was surprised America would “get involved in an unjustified provocation of the feelings of 360 million Arabs and 1.5 billion Muslims to please Israel.”
- Ayatollah Ali Khameini said, “Without a doubt, the Islamic world will resist this conspiracy … and beloved Palestine will finally be freed”
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas termed the decision as the “destruction of all the efforts to achieve peace”
Story first published: 7th December 2017